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INTERNATIONAL ISLAMIC UNIVERSITY AT KUALA LUMPUR. Founded in 1983, the International Islamic University, Malaysia, seeks to permeate the teaching of all knowledge with Islamic values. The idea of establishing the International Islamic University (IIU) was first discussed on 12 January 1982 by the prime minister of Malaysia, Dr. Mahathir Mohamed at a meeting with the minister of education, the director general of education, and a few senior academicians. An amendment bill of the Universities and University Colleges Act of 19’71 (Laws of Malaysia) was passed by Parliament, and given the Royal Assent in February 1983. This amendment allowed the International Islamic University, Malaysia, to be established outside the restrictions of the Rules and Regulations of the Universities and University Colleges Act of 1971 and to become international in nature with international cosponsorship and with ownership vested in a Board of Governors. The University is presently cosponsored by the Organization of the Islamic Conference and seven other Muslim countries in addition to Malaysia: Maldives, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Turkey, Libya, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt.


The university’s objectives, among others, are:

To re-establish, with Allah’s help, the primacy of Islam in all fields of knowledge consistent with the Islamic tradition of the pursuit of knowledge and truth, as reflected by those pioneering works of early Islamic scholars and thinkers that began with the teachings of our Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).

To revive the ancient Islamic tradition of learning where knowledge was propagated and sought after in the spirit of submission to God (Tawhid).

Its philosophy of the integration of religious knowledge and worldly sciences, together with the vision of Islamization of human knowledge, were inspired by the recommendations of the first World Conference on Muslim Education held in Mecca in 1977.

As such, the university is not limited to Islamic theological studies but is a comprehensive professional institution of higher learning in which the teaching of all fields of knowledge is infused with Islamic values and the Islamic philosophy of knowledge. When it opened in 1983 with 153 students, it had two faculties, Laws and Economics, offering undergraduate degrees and two services centers, the Centre for Fundamental Knowledge and the Centre for Languages.

Dr. Abdul Rauf of Egypt served as rector for the first five years. In 1989 Dr. AbdulHamid A. AbuSulayman, former president of the International Institute of Islamic Thought in Washington, D.C., was appointed rector. With the support of the president of IIU, Anwar Ibrahim, who was then minister of education, he established a new faculty under the name of Islamic Revealed Knowledge and Human Sciences and departments covering Islamic studies, most of the social sciences, and the humanities. He also introduced the full credit-hour system in July 1990. Under this system, the class size has been kept small (averaging thirty-five students per class) to enable a more creative interaction between the instructor and students. Evaluation of the academic performance of students is based on regular tests and assignments, midterm examinations, and end-of-semester examinations. Students evaluate the academic staff at the end of each semester through the teacher efficiency rating system.

As of July 1992, the university offers a choice of undergraduate courses in law, business, accounting, economics, psychology, political science, history and civilization, philosophy, mass communications, English as a second language, Arabic as a second language, Islamic revealed knowledge and heritage, and sociology/anthropology. There are also masters and diploma courses available in various areas of Education as well as in English and Arabic as Second Languages. Masters’ programs are offered in library and information science, economics, and revealed knowledge and heritage. The Faculty of Laws offers programs leading up to the Ph.D level. The university is expanding postgraduate courses to cover all disciplines available in its undergraduate program in order to develop the intellectual Islamic capacity of the students.

The next phase in the development of the university’s undergraduate academic programs will see the establishment of the Faculty of Engineering, which will open in 1994, followed by one in architecture and one in the applied and basic sciences in 1995. The university also plans to establish a medical school, covering all the medical sciences including dentistry and nursing in Kuantan, Pahang, by 1998.

The original student body of 153 students grew to more than six thousand students in January 1992

3,071 undergraduate and 2,461 matriculation (pre-university) students. Postgraduate students now number 848 with 419 of this number enrolled in the Diploma of Education program. The university plans to increase gradually the number of international students to approximately 25 percent of the total student population. By July 1995, IIU will move to its permanent campus in Gombak, a suburb of Kuala Lumpur, which will have the capacity to accommodate a total of fourteen thousand students.

All professional courses are taught in English, but students are required to reach the level of advanced Arabic proficiency. Students taking the Shari’ah, Arabic, and Revealed Knowledge courses must, of course, take them in Arabic, but their minor courses are offered in English.

The university has introduced a unique system of “double major”: every student specializing in human and social science courses must take a minor concentration in a Revealed Knowledge discipline related to the major area of concentration. After receiving the first degree in the major discipline, it is possible for students to obtain another bachelor’s degree in the minor area if they extend their studies another two semesters into a fifth year.

The staff of the university are committed to the goal of developing young men and women who are not only aware of contemporary problems and perceive the drawbacks of both the modern and the traditional approaches, but are also able to examine issues from Islamic perspectives founded on the principle of unity of revelation and reason, matter and spirit, the here and the hereafter.

[See also Education, articles on Educational Institutions and The Islamization of Knowledge; Universities.]


International Islamic University. University Handbook 1984/85. Kuala Lumpur, 1984.

International Islamic University. University Prospectus 1985/86. Kuala Lumpur, 1985.

International Islamic University. University Campus Master Plan Report. Kuala Lumpur, 1991.

International Islamic University. Undergraduate Prospectus 1993194 Kuala Lumpur, 1993

Memorandum and Articles of Association of International Islamic University, Malaysia. Kuala Lumpur, 1983.


Azhar Niaz Article's Source: http://islamicus.org/iium/

  • writerPosted On: May 16, 2014
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